FocusME: Early Stage Business Peer Group, Spring 2020 (11:00am start)


The CEI Women’s Business Center and the Portland SCORE Chapter are collaborating to host FocusME, a series of peer groups for female entrepreneurs.

In Spring 2020, we will be offering an Early Stage Business Peer Group and a Growth Stage Business Peer Group. Once you’ve registered we will contact you and ask you to complete a short questionnaire to help us learn more about your business. We will review your responses and contact you with any questions we might have. Please note that in order to ensure that both groups are filled with businesses that are non-competitive and in similar stages of growth the WBC will make the final recommendation with regards to participation for each group.

“This group has given me the confidence to step outside my comfort zone, reach out to other businesses and pitch myself. The collective talents and ideas of the group are an amazing help to all.”

Is The FocusME: Early Stage Business Peer Group right for you?

We are looking for women entrepreneurs who are committed to business and personal growth to join this group. In order to participate, you must have business revenue, and an active website. The Early Stage Business Peer Group is ideal for clients who are operating like a startup and continuing to develop a long term vision for their business. If you are working on defining your target market, establishing a customer base, identifying key measures for success, setting goals, learning how to manage your cash flow, developing policies and procedures and doing most things “for the first time” this group is likely a good fit for you.

How does it work? 

A group of smart, savvy, female entrepreneurs meet every two to three weeks for facilitated sessions focusing on business and personal growth. These sessions continue with a check-in every two months for the remainder of the year. The program will also include two networking events, and a yearly celebration where participants from past and current cohorts will come together. Participants lean on each other, give advice, share connections and experiences and form business relationships with each other if/when appropriate. You will be introduced to local resources that will help build your business and become connected to a broader network of services and fellow entrepreneurs.

Each session includes: 

  • A facilitated group discussion with a focus on personal development (topics include: goal setting, time management, pitching your business, prioritizing)
  • An opportunity to share business challenges and brainstorm solutions
  • A “my turn” time which allows each participant to share something you’re working on and look to the group for input and accountability.
  • Pairing of accountability partners to check-in with between sessions

Who Facilitates? 

The sessions will be facilitated by Leigh Tillman. Leigh works with groups facilitating decision-making, group processes, training and effective storytelling. As a female entrepreneur herself, Leigh is excited to team up with the CEI Women’s Business Center and SCORE to offer what we expect will prove to be a unique, rewarding, and candidly helpful series for all participants. You can learn more about her here.


The six initial sessions take place on Tuesdays in 2020. These sessions continue with four “Mile Marker” sessions. Upon registering, you are expected to attend each of these sessions. A yearly celebration for all FocusME groups will be held in the fall, as well as at least one additional networking opportunity.

Where will FocusME sessions be held? 

FocusME will be held in the 2nd floor conference room of the Marine Trade Center, at 2 Portland Fish Pier, where CEI’s Portland office is located.

What does it cost? 

The cost to participate in FocusME is $250. This includes the six initial sessions, four follow-up sessions, two networking events featuring a guest speaker, and an invitation to the annual FocusME celebration. This amounts to a full year of programming and continuity. 

If you have additional questions, please contact Anna Ackerman at anna.ackerman@ceimaine.org.

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